A first taste of snow

Kaika and snow, January 21, 2006: click for gallery

Today we got our first, and perhaps only, snowfall of the winter in the Tokyo area. This was really Kaika’s first time out in the snow (he had a cold when it snowed last year). At first he couldn’t deal with the flakes landing on his tongue and on his eyelashes, but he quickly warmed up to the whole idea once I showed him you could throw the stuff. Not surprisingly, 30 minutes later it was hard to get him to go back into the house.

What would the world look like if everyone took the day off?

Mt. Fuji from a distance, at sunset

This barely conveys the majesty, but these days even from these distant parts (Saitama) Mt. Fuji has often been in view (though it helps to be on the top floors of a shopping mall parking garage). According to Naoko, it is said that part of the reason Fuji-san is so visible during the New Years holidays is because most everyone is off work and all the factories are closed. Sounds a bit apocryphal and certainly doesn’t account for all the cars on the road (or packed into same shopping mall parking garage), but it does make one wonder what the world would look like if there was one universal day off.

The meaninglessness of umbrellas

Umbrellas in Shinjuku, August 9, 2003: click for larger image

I had to go into Tokyo yesterday to meet up with someone, right around the time that Typhoon No. 10 was passing through the Kanto region. As I was reaching for the umbrella upon leaving the house, Naoko said imi nai j’aan, which in this instance means something like “it won’t have any meaning.” She was referring to the fact that the strong wind would pretty much render the umbrella useless, not to mention that I might actually ruin the umbrella if the right gust got a hold of it. So naturally I followed her wisdom in such matters.

Nevertheless, when it started pouring as I was putzing around some Shinjuku camera shops waiting for said appointment, I was cursing myself for listening to her, for in that area there was nary any wind, yet plenty of rain. Oh well, a little rain never hurt nobody. It was later, however, as I sipped coffee at the Starbucks at the New South Exit of Shinjuku station, along a pedestrian walkway that even on a balmy clear day can approximate a wind tunnel, that Naoko’s wisdom showed itself.

I lost track of how many umbrellas bit the dust along that walkway during the time I was sitting there. I have to say I did feel a bit of sadistic glee as I watched the parade of people walking by, almost absent-mindedly carrying their umbrellas, knowing full well that just 100 feet or so down the walkway they were going to meet a furious crosswind and that they were headed for a Mary Poppins moment. And I have to say that watching it all, I did feel a bit of smugness with my received wisdom that in a typhoon, umbrellas have no meaning.

– – –

When I got home, the typhoon had more or less passed, and in its wake was left the most glorious rainbow I’ve probably ever seen. In fact, ever so briefly, there was a double rainbow, as you can see in the photo below. I saw many rainbows growing up in Hawaii, but I’m hard-pressed to remember ever seeing a double rainbow before.

Double rainbow in Warabi (Saitama), August 9, 2003: click for larger image

(Click on the top umbrella image and cycle forward through yesterday’s images, or click on the double rainbow image and cycle backwards.)